Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Main Library's Barn

In our vertical file of newspaper clippings file for the San Francisco Public Library we have an article reviewing the architecture and construction from the California Construction Link newspaper.  It's from the May 31, 1996 issue and is entitled "Main Library: San Francisco's Newest Landmark Opens."

The article includes an intriguing paragraph about our James Ingo Freed designed building: 
The library's contemporary facade is dominated by a 71-by-31-foot rectangular "barn"-like structure called the "House of the Book." This structure includes a public auditorium on the basement level, part of the Children's Library on the second floor and the City's History Center under the vaulted ceiling at the top level. Built to parallel the angle of Market Street, which it faces at the corner of Hyde and Grove, the structure's self-enclosed walls extend from the basement to a point above above the main roof line, where they are topped by a free-standing lead coated, copper barrel-shaped vault roof.
 photograph by Susan Lowenstein, from California Construction Link May 31, 1996 

When invoking a "barn," the article's author is describing the shape of the roof at the right of the library when viewed from U.N. Plaza.

This "barn" effect is even more evident in a Google Earth 3D view.

Much like the structural circular columns on the east and west sides of the atrium in the public areas of the library, this barn footprint extends from the Library's Lower Level to the top of the building.  Like the Periodical Reading Room on the Library's 6th floor it is angled according to Market Street and the South of Market grid.

In fact, the eastern edge of the barn nearly parallels the eastern curb of Eight Street to the south.

But the dominant angle is that of Market Street to the south.

Having looked at the "barn" from the outside, we will look at how its form has shaped the interior spaces of the Main Library.  Although much of the barn is an interior space that is not open to the public, housing collections and staff work spaces, it also helps some of the public space.

Previous entries about the architecture of the San Francisco Public Library Main Library:

The Altes Museum and the Main Library (March 6, 2019)

Rotunda Resonances in the San Francisco Main Library (March 25, 2019)

 Labrouste's Libraries, Structural Columns and the Main Library (May 9, 2019)

Main Library Columns, pt. 1 (June 13, 2019)

Main Columns, pt. 2 (July 18, 2019)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Most Popular Art, Music & Recreation Center Books At The End Of 2019

As usual books by celebrities and entertainers dominate the most borrowed books in our subject.  There are new titles by Howard Stern, John Waters, Chelsea Handler, Patti Smith, Tan France, Elton John, Jonathan Van Ness, and Ali Wong. Perhaps most remarkable is the enduring popularity of Trevor Noah's memoir Born A Crime which appeared on our previous lists of January 2017, November 2017 and May 2018.  It was the most borrowed book of all by far.

Hamilton: The Revolution continues to be a sensation.  New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum's essay collection I Like To Watch is also a popular read. Michael Shnayerson's Boom, an exposé of the contemporary art market, has also found a wide readership. An older title like Barbarian Days, William Finnegan's surfing memoir has had steadily high circulation for four years.

A couple of more than titles that are more than 40 years old are also on this list.  A Pattern Language is still considered to be revolutionary approach to architecture and design.  We recently reordered multiple copies of Jim Bouton's baseball classic Ball Four and its return to many branches has been welcomed by San Francisco readers.

Happy reading.

Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Spiegel & Grau, 2016).

Howard Stern Comes Again (Simon & Schuster, 2019).

Hamilton: The Revolution: Being The Complete Libretto Of The Broadway Musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (Grand Central Publishing, 2016).

Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom Of A Filth Elder by John Waters (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019).

Life Will Be The Death Of Me: ... And You, Too! by Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau, 2019).

Year Of The Monkey by Patti Smith (Alfred A. Knopf, 2019).

Naturally Tan by Tan France with Caroline Donofrio (St. Martin's Press, 2019)

I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum (Random House, 2019.

Me by Elton John (Henry Holt and Company, 2019).

Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness (HarperOne, 2019).

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice For Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong (Random House, 2019).

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Penguin Press, 2015).

Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, And The Rise Of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson (PublicAffairs, 2019).

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel (Oxford University Press, 1977).

Ball Four: The Final Pitch by Jim Bouton (Turner, 2014).